Legal Alert – Improvement in equal treatment of temporary employees
The Finnish Employment Contracts Act and Posted Workers Act were amended as from 1 March 2012. The purpose of the amendments of law is to promote the equal treatment of temporary employees as well as equal competitive position of companies. From now on the temporary work agencies shall ensure that the temporary employees will benefit from the same essential terms of employment that the permanent employees of a company using the services of temporary employees obtain. The essential terms of employment are, for example, working hours, salary and working conditions.
A collective agreement, binding on the company using the services of temporary employees, currently applies to the employment relationship of the temporary employee if the temporary work agency is not bound by a certain collective agreement. However, the terms regarding the salary, working hours and annual holidays of the temporary employee shall be at least subject to the agreements and practices that are generally applied in the company using the services of temporary employees.
Nowadays the temporary employees shall also have an opportunity to also use services and arrangements of the company using the services of the temporary employee, other than those that are considered as employment benefits, that are provided for its own employees. The services and arrangements considered as other benefits are, for example, canteen services as well as childcare and transport arrangements.
In addition, the amendment of law is for protecting the opportunity of the temporary employee to employ for other open positions in the company using the services of temporary employees. Companies using the services of temporary employees shall from now on inform the temporary employees, too, about all the open positions at the company. Thus, the companies using the services of temporary employees shall see to that the temporary employees are in practice able to receive the information about opening positions equally as the company’s permanent employees. Part-time temporary employees do not however have the privilege under chapter 2, section 5 of the Employment Contracts Act to be offered full-time work at the company using the services of temporary employees.
The amendment of law was also done in order to improve the statutory protection of posted temporary workers. Collective labour agreements are applied to the employment relationships of posted temporary workers similarly as with the temporary employees hired from Finland. If the collective labour agreement will not be applied, the terms of employment (e.g. minimum salary, annual holiday, working hours and occupational safety) shall be at the same level as for the temporary employees hired from Finland. In such case, the basis is the general practice of the company using the services of temporary employees or agreements that are generally binding on the company. If these are lacking, the posted temporary workers shall be paid at least the normal and reasonable salary.
In addition, the company using the services of temporary employees shall provide the employer of the posted temporary worker information on the terms of employment in order for the foreign employer to be able to fulfil its obligations. Informing has particular importance if the foreign employer shall apply the normally binding collective labour agreement applied by the company using the services of temporary employees or some other practice or agreement binding on the company to the employment relationship of the posted temporary worker.